The Office of the Special Counsel announced today that thirteen Russians have been indicted for crimes related to interference with elections in the United States. This is part of Robert Mueller’s investigation that has already produced indictments against Donald Trump associates Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, and George Papadopoulos (the latter two having pleaded guilty). This is a significant development that further exposes the unsavory connections between Russia and Trump.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Republicans leaped out in front of the story to accuse the real culprit in this affair: President Obama. That’s right, despite there being no mention of the former president or his activities in the indictments, the GOP wants to make sure that the American people will nevertheless hold him accountable. Ronna Romney McDaniel, the chairperson of the Republican National Committee, told Fox news (of course) this shortly after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made the announcement:
.@GOPChairwoman on Russians indicted for election meddling: "These indictments are very telling that the Obama administration lost sight of Russia during their tenure." @TeamCavuto pic.twitter.com/aCOzxAxp0L
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 16, 2018
That is perhaps one of the most ludicrous diversions from reality that the loony-right has made – well, this hour. There’s much more looniness to come. But for the record, it was the Obama Justice Department and FBI that led the investigations into the Russian activities and supplied most of the evidence that Rosenstein cited in his indictment. There is an argument to made that these affairs should have been made public sooner, but the Obama administration maintained an abundance of caution so as not to influence the election themselves. That’s a worthy topic for debate. However, what is not debatable is Trump’s response to the indictments:
Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 16, 2018
The fact that Russia began these operations before Trump’s candidacy only affirms that they have long been a hostile foreign entity who ought not to have been embraced as partners by the Trump campaign. Trump’s claim that the results of the election were not impacted is plainly false. All that Rosenstein said about that is there is no such allegation in this set of indictments. That’s not the same as saying it didn’t occur. It’s possible, even likely, that more indictments are still being prepared. Nevertheless, Trump reiterated his misreading of the indictments in an official statement saying that:
The President “is glad to see the Special Counsel’s investigation further indicates—that there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump campaign and Russia and that the outcome of the election was not changed or affected.”
Again, that is not what the indictments said. Particularly with regard to collusion. The indictments repeatedly refer to “the defendants and co-conspirators.” The co-conspirators are not identified at this time, but there are numerous references to contacts made by the Russian defendants and people in the Trump campaign. Contrary to the spin by Trump and Fox News, Bloomberg reports that “Mueller Still Investigating Possible Collusion, Source Says.” Trump is desperate to dismiss the apparent complicity of his campaign and thinks that simply saying it isn’t so will be enough to persuade his Deplorable base. And the GOP is similarly determined to advance that lie. Kayleigh McEnany, the RNC spokesperson tweeted that:
BREAKING: DOJ reveals Russians organized AGAINST Trump on Nov. 12th and 19th of 2016!!
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) February 16, 2018
She must not recall that the election was on November eighth. And if it’s her contention that the Russian interference was directed against Trump rather than for him, she should read the indictment that says:
“Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates, and by early to mid-2016, Defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump (‘Trump Campaign’) and disparaging Hillary Clinton.”
Finally, State-Run TV (aka Fox News) was playing its part in the Trump propaganda offensive. The RNC’s McEnany rushed over to the Fox studios to spew the party line in the minutes following Rosenstein’s announcement. Her frantic spin was that “Today marks the day that the Democrats’ Russia collusion conspiracy theory unraveled,” and that “Democrats deceived this country and they were caught today.” Seriously, that was the official GOP take on the news that Russia had interfered with the election of Donald Trump – a contention that he has repeatedly said was a hoax.
Now that Trump is apparently conceding that there was interference by the Russians, will he correct his previous denials and apologize? Will he finally implement the sanctions that Congress voted for overwhelmingly? Or will he continue shield his pal Vladimir Putin from any consequences for having tried to destabilize America’s democracy. It’s notable that his response to these new indictments is focused solely on how they affect him. He cries, falsely, that there is no collusion. But he doesn’t once acknowledge the harrowing allegations that Russia was meddling in our election in order to destabilize our democracy. Isn’t he, by oath, supposed to be protecting and defending the Constitution, not himself?
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
In summary, according to Trump and the GOP, the Russians worked against Trump. The indictments prove that there was no impact on the election and that there was no collusion on Trump’s part. And that it was all Obama’s fault anyway. The lesson that America truly needs to learn from all of this is to “Just say ‘No’ to drugs.” And let’s hope these Republican junkies get the help they so obviously need. Because if they aren’t high, then they have much more serious mental problems.
UPDATE: Sean Hannity boards the “It’s Obama’s fault” train. I’m shocked!